Are Your Change Muscles Flabby Or Fit?

By: Marcia Zidle, M.S. N.C.C. B.C.C.

“Is the change over? Can we stop changing now?”

That’s a question I get asked a lot these days. My answer is this:

“People and organizations that haven’t changed in ten years are dead! Do you want to be one of them?”

Although we don’t always like to admit it, we seek and want control of our lives. We use our past experiences to establish expectations about how things in our life should be or need to be. These expectations provide a sense of comfort and confidence.

Change is challenging precisely because it disrupts our expectations – it creates a new reality that doesn’t match the expectations we have created. This causes us to feel a loss of control – a loss of comfort – and a loss of confidence. Sometimes we deal with it well and sometimes we don’t!

What’s the Difference?

Each person carries with them a change bank account. Some have a lot of “money” in their account – positive, effective ways to deal with or manage the changes that are happening to and around them. Others don’t have much “money” in their account. How much “money” is in your change bank account?

Ten Tips to Build Your Bank Account

The single most important factor in adapting to change is resilience – the capacity to absorb high levels of change and maintain high levels of performance. When resilient people face, rather than ignore, the ambiguity and anxiety around change, they tend to grow stronger rather than depleted. Here are 10 tips to build your change muscles and bank account. 

1. Avoid “poison” people.
Surround yourself with optimistic, upbeat individuals and situations who will lift you up, not bring you down.
2. Take care of yourself.
A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defense and helps manage the” bad” stress that can accompany change.
3. Find ways to gain some control and order.
At work, focus on the work that is workable; at home, focus on making it a place that gives you comfort and well-being.
4. Don’t put your life on hold.
Don’t wait for change to stop. If you planned a vacation, take it. But it may be to a less costly destination or a shorter time frame.
5. Expect change to change things.
Be open to getting things done in new ways and getting new things done.
6. Don’t be a Lone Ranger.
Reach out to others for support, perspectives, information and just some TLC when needed.
7. Know your personal quota for change.
Some can function in a great deal of change; others need a breather. Therefore manage the amount so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
8. Resist changing everything at once.
Most people can handle effectively only one or two major changes in their lives over a short period of time.
9. Motivate yourself to the hilt.
Remind yourself of your accomplishments; go out and have fun days; get immersed in a hobby; live life to the fullest.
10. Finally, accept that change is here to stay.
So don’t try to stop it, rather move with it focus on your long term goals and priorities, not short term hiccups.

Smart Moves Tip:

Don’t stop building your change muscles. People and issues will come knocking at your door unannounced. Learn to adapt to changing situations quickly and be able to change plans if the situation requires it.  As Alice says in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, “I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I must have changed several times since then.” So will you in your professional and personal life. Count on it!! 

Marcia Zidle, M.S. N.C.C. B.C.C.  is a board certified coach who provides executive coaching to business and community leaders and management teams to leverage their skills, strengths and style for high performance.  Go to http://www.LeadersAtAllLevels.com to sign up for the smart moves blog and free success e-books. Listen to her weekly internet radio program "The Business Edge" for Voice America Wednesdays at 2pm EST at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2186/the-business-edge.You can contact Marcia at 972-380-9281 or [email protected].

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